NOAA Teacher at Sea
Preparing to Board NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
March 16 – April 3, 2015
Mission: Caribbean Exploration (Mapping)
Geographical Area of Cruise: Caribbean Trenches and Seamounts
Date: March 9, 2015
If you could have any super power imaginable, what would it be? Growing up, my son asked me this question numerous times as we walked our dog. While he pondered the advantages of flight, invisibility, or spontaneous combustion, my answer was always the same. I want Aquaman’s powers (but a better looking outfit). I want to swim underwater without the need for dive gear, seahorses, or gillyweed, to see what few others have seen. I want to communicate with whales and dolphins to find out what their large brains can teach us about our planet. While I may not be able to attain superhero status, I can join some real-world adventurers on an amazing vessel equipped to conduct research that will help realize my dream of seeing the unseen depths of the ocean.
Hello, from Northern Wisconsin! My name is Theresa Paulsen. I am a high school science teacher in Ashland, WI. I have been teaching for 17 years while living along the south shore of Lake Superior with my husband and our two children.
The pristine lake and the rich forests around the region provide the resources that sustain our local communities. As we work to promote local stewardship in the classroom, we must recognize that the health and welfare of the resources we treasure are connected to the greater global environment which is heavily influenced by the processes that occur in our oceans. The geological processes occurring near our research zone are fascinating. The North American plate slides passed the Caribbean plate creating the Puerto Rico trench, the deepest part of the Atlantic Ocean.
Maps generated by the vessel’s state-of-the-art multibeam sonar on our mission will help geologists learn more about the tectonic activity and potential seismic hazards in the area. (Let’s hope the only rumblings I feel are those caused by the typical mild sea-sickness!) The maps will also be used by marine biologists and resource managers to investigate and assess unique habitat zones. Learn more the mission goals here.
My students and I have been checking in on the vessels live video feed periodically as the ship sails from Rhode Island to Puerto Rico, mapping along the way. I will join the crew in Puerto Rico on the 14th to begin training before the vessel sets sail for the second leg of the mission on the 16th. Throughout our journey, scientists will use the maps we generate to determine areas that require further investigation with the vessel’s remotely operated vehicle (ROV) on the third leg of the mission.
My goal is to learn as much as I can on this expedition! There is no better way to motivate students to become life-long learners and scientific thinkers than to show them how exciting real research can be. Through the NOAA Teacher at Sea program, my students and I will have the rare opportunity to learn first-hand about the science and technology oceanographers use to study fascinating places in the ocean. I will return to the classroom in April, equipped with lesson ideas and answers to questions about ocean research and careers! Thank you for following me on my journey. Please post questions or comments. I will do my best to address them in future posts (although communication aboard the vessel can be tenuous, I am told). Here is my first question for you: